Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How Out Of It Is Kodak?

Dan Carp, who happens to be CEO of Kodak, the company that has been left high and dry by the digital tsunami, gave a keynote speech at a wireless trade show this week in which he warned that camera phones could "fade into niche obscurity," according to the Wall Street Journal, "if the industry doesn't improve the quality of the phones and the experience of using them."

According to Carp, who has successfully redeployed the fast-fading cash from Kodak's film business into all manner of lousy digital and printed-related businesses, the consumer wants better image quality, battery life and printing capabilities. Many consumers find camera phones "less than satisfying."

The man has no clue.

Far from being a teenage girl-specific fad--and I have two teenage daughters--camera phones are useful in a whole bunch of ways I never imagined, from Sting fans taking pictures and short videos of the rock star and sending them to friends while the concert was still going, to heavy travelers like me swapping pictures with their kids to let them know, say, your plane landed safely, or you miss them.

Being in Florida for a family illness, I got a late-night picture on my cell phone last night showing the cats resting comfortably on the bed. All was well at home.

Mr. Carp, in remarks intended, I suppose, to show how aggressively Kodak is staking out new frontiers in the digital realm, only proves how ignorant he is of what consumers actually do with one of the most successful consumer products of modern times.

Don't bet on him--or Kodak--to lead the revolution.

Jeff Matthews
I'm Not Making This Up


Its_strange said...

Camera phones offer the public the chance to fight crime without getting in harms way. The public can identify criminals , cars the whole works without being identified . Just take a picture and call it in to 911.What do you think, Bob O'Brien ?

bubbles said...

Maybe Bob O'Brien could use a camera phone to take pics of these naked short sellers that are running around everywhere.

bubbles said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BelowTheCrowd said...

I've got two thoughts on this:

1) Kodak's opinion needs to be disregarded as advice in most investment contexts. They've failed miserably at every attempt to convert their outright dominance in silver-based imaging to anything digital.
2) That said, there's a needle in every haystack. Camera phones are useful, but could be a lot more useful if quality were better. My Treo should be capable of much better images than it creates, especially given the option of an accessory memory card that could capture less well-compressed images than I might want to transmit wirelessly.

So there is a bit of truth to what this guy says. With a bit of extra work, my Treo could mostly replace the compact digital camera that I carry around for snapshots and other tasks that the camera can't handle. Just as I'm willing to pay a premium for a phone that simultaneously replaced my PDA, I'd be willing to pay even more for one that replaced a limited-feature, but high-quality digital camera.

Sadly, I don't really see anybody pursuing that direction. The cellphone makers seem to want to treat the camera part as an afterthought -- a device for sharing stuff via MMS, not a camera that could meet multiple needs.

So, while I use my Treo camera frequently, I also await many improvements.

Dan said...

I have to disagree that the camera is an afterthought to manufacturers. Check this out:

Ed said...

don't get too hoity-toity. camera phones do suck for many, many purposes. plus, kodak does get some props in the industry for having good digital cameras/printing solutions.

Chad Brand said...

Bargain hunters of EK shares in the low 20's have been rewarded handsomely. You can say they waited way too long to move to digital, but you have to give them credit for the push they've made, albeit later than most. EK is #1 domestically in digital cameras. Not too shabby. FD: Long EK.